Digital message signs on Hwy 17 should provide travel times, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Electronic road signs on Highway 17 are a waste of taxpayer money unless they say something useful. ‘Click it or Ticket' is cute but surely not every day. Blank is the norm – and what a waste that is. Once you get past Highway 9 (in Los Gatos), there's a sign that says how long until one gets to the San Jose International Airport, Milpitas, etc. Now, that's useful info. There are two signs on Highway 17 north that, generally, are blank -- one in Scotts Valley and one at the summit. Surely, those could give us drive time values like to the Summit, Lexington Reservoir and the airport for Scotts Valley and Lexington Reservoir, Highway 85 and the airport for the Summit. And then do the same for any sign on the southbound sections. Please don't waste our money on ‘roadside is slick’ when it's raining. Bob Zimway, via email A: To fulfill your request, more traffic detection stations would need to be installed and that effort will take money the state transportation agency does not have, said Bernard Walik, spokesman for Caltrans District 4 in San Francisco Bay Area, which operates the digital message signs. Caltrans currently gets its travel time data from 511, which doesn’t provide enough data to calculate travel times, he said. “I have forwarded this request to our senior planners and will personally inform (Street Smarts) if there are any changes in our future strategy with regards to electronic signs along Highway 17,” he said.
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